Our City Thoughts, creating a new narrative for Miami

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Knight Foundation supports Our City Thoughts to connect people driving innovation in Miami by sharing their stories. Below, Binsen J. Gonzalez and Ashley Cummings, founders of the non-profit, share the organization’s vision. Above: Philippe Houdard, co-founder at Pipeline Brickell. Photo courtesy: Our City Thoughts.

Miami is undergoing a big change, driven by those who are looking to make a real difference in the community. Instead of leaving, many millennials are growing their dreams right here; there is an emerging startup scene; and you can feel the shift in energy. Our City Thoughts aims to shine a light on those who are driving innovation and helping bring forth this new Miami.

Our team is made up of millennials, energized by a blossoming community of creatives, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders. We are in a city that, to a majority of the country, is not known as an intellectual mecca. We look to change this mindset, by showcasing the growing talent. Miami is no longer just the life of the party.

We want to highlight an authentic voice, by describing first hand what Miami is becoming. Our goal is to grow the community and help it attract and retain talent through the power of storytelling. We aim to change perceptions and refocus attention on a new narrative in Miami, centered on innovation, problem-solving and entrepreneurship. In the last year, we have worked to identify the game changers in our community and began telling their stories through video and written interviews. We’ve realized that the power of a meaningful story transcends generations, and can ignite change.

Now, we’ve received an opportunity to continue this work through a $75,000 grant from the Knight Foundation, which will allow us to reach a larger audience and spread Miami’s narrative even further. We plan to use this grant to continue to share the voices of passionate local influencers such as Marta Viciedo, who is becoming a voice for efficient and needed public transit. Or share the fearlessness of Tony Lima, who is championing LGBT rights. We aim to continue to sit down with intellectuals such as Dave Lawrence, who decided to leave the publishing world to impact the space of early childhood development locally and globally. We want to continue to capture the imagination and creative spirit of locals such as Melissa Medina, who are determined to make Miami a tech hub.

At Our City Thoughts, each team member has been inspired by the idea that we can empower our city through storytelling and in the language we know best, digital media. Thanks to funding from the Knight Foundation, we believe our voices can go further and our impact can be larger, helping Miami continue to rise as a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Read more in Our City Thoughts: Transcending divides through 'the power of a story' in the Miami Herald

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